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By: Adam Marshall
I know a lot of people (including myself), who it seems, are constantly looking for answers. If you are passionate about anything in life you are always trying to know more and improve in that area. How do I make this recipe better? Why don’t my flowers grow here? Where would be a good place to go hiking this weekend? Often, we’ll consult the internet looking for answers on the subject, not really knowing what we’ll find and many times more confused than ever. Occasionally, we’ll look for books or articles on the matter, possibly requiring a fair investment of time searching for the answer. Of course, reading on the subject is an excellent way to acquire knowledge, but finding answers to specific questions isn’t always easy.
If we put this topic in the context of a physical education teacher, we might hear common questions like: What can I do with large class sizes? What are some good classroom management ideas for PE? How can I teach my class about body composition without talking too much? The actor and humorist Will Rogers had a quote saying, “A man can only learn two ways, one by reading and the other by associating with smarter people.” When I hear the phrase “associating with smarter people” the word that comes to mind is collaboration. Not necessarily with someone I deem smarter than myself, but maybe someone who’s “been there done that”. Some of the biggest ah-ha moments I’ve seen are through the collaboration of teachers discussing common questions and problems. Getting a personalized response and being able to discuss the issue with a peer is such a powerful learning experience.
I look at collaboration opportunities being available in three different areas:
Take the opportunity to reach out to your peers and you will surely reap the benefits. It’s possible you are sitting on a gold mine worth of information and don’t even know it.
The day after the USA celebrated it’s independence day the USA women’s soccer team won the World Cup. It’s a story for the record books. The above commercial is a great representation, created by Nike, of how important it is to push each other to achieve more. As the summer months continue in full swing we can’t help but look to the horizon and see September, and the start of a new school year. As we move into the 2015-2016 school year we have to do so together. Nike hit the nail on the head in this commercial with it’s message, and it relates to us as health and physical educators.
As an individual teacher we are strong. We want lifelong health and happiness for the students we have the privilege of teaching. We want to provide them with all the essential knowledge to make healthy diet and exercise choices. We want to give them current, relevant information so they have the arsenal needed to become their own nutritionist and personal trainer when they graduate high school. As an individual teacher we have a daunting task.
Together, as a group, a team if you will, of health and physical educators we are, just like Nike said, unstoppable. Working together to share ideas, best practices, and collaborating on how we can get our students the information they need is going to drive health and physical education confidently forward. We are the most important subject and together we can help others see why we are the core of education. We are the most important subject because a physically educated person knows how to prepare their body and minds for learning.
If a student is dehydrated, malnourished, sleep deprived, and sedentary their bodies are not ready to learn. Together we are unstoppable because we can teach our students how to stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep and maintain a body that is regularly active.
As we move through summer, call, tweet, email, and reach out to us. We would love to help you become unstoppable when it comes to teaching health and physical education!
By: Jabet Wheeler
In 1995, I got a job with the American Heart Association collecting donations and raising money for research and prevention. I didn’t do it because I believed so much in their mission as because I wanted to “live indoors, eat food, buy clothes”, etc…I needed a job and it was a solid organization with a good reputation. Along the way, during my 13 years in different capacities, I learned about the seriousness of heart disease, met families who were impacted and devastated by heart disease and stroke, and even had it creep into my own immediate family. This deeper understanding layered on the passion for the efforts as the years went by.
I also found that those afflicted with heart disease and stroke tended to stay in the shadows and not be as gregarious or stumping for the cause, as survivors of the other most common chronic diseases. Was it embarrassment because they “caused” their heart disease by not living a healthy lifestyle? Or maybe fear that they would lose their jobs because their disease had rendered them a weaker person? Were they concerned that there would be an increase in their insurance cost? All of these self-doubts were magnified for those who had multiple experiences and helped to keep the seriousness of heart disease and stroke less obvious and downplayed unless you were directly impacted.
For the last five years of my tenure with AHA, I worked in the “Youth Market” Division with my efforts specifically directed at, and for children. This is where it became obvious to me that preventing unhealthy habits in children before they start and teaching children about fitness and healthy lifestyles is a lot more effective approach than working to undo unhealthy habits in the older population (especially because as we grow older the habits, good or bad, become much more ingrained into our lives). That’s how I began “selling” the AHA’s youth programs, (Jump Rope for Heart™, Hoops for Heart™ and HeartWorks™), into school districts and PE Programs. In addition to the fundraising efforts embedded in those programs they also offered an academic component of promoting a life-long love of physical activity.
After the AHA’s Youth Market efforts and my understanding of youth health, it was an easy step to Focused Fitness and representing their programs, products and services to school districts across the U.S. I consider their unique philosophy of integrating fitness, health and nutrition academic concepts into every PE curriculum resource to be right on target…not only keeping student physically active, but also empowering them with the health knowledge they need to make better behavior decisions. This practice of including academic content right in with the lesson’s activities was dubbed “Content Fusion” by one of my customers and I love the phrase!
Some Physical Education Programs are not ready to take that step into Quality PE and have not yet embraced the idea that “Physical Education” is a curricular area and has the special ability not to just keep kids moving and active, but to teach them why it is important. The ideas and habits we instill in our children—especially when they are young—are the ones that will most likely stay with them long into adulthood. I think we need to take every opportunity to make sure we are sharing the “good” habits and explain the consequences so they can make their own knowledgeable choices.
To the Physical Educators who only want their students to play and their modus operandi is to develop the school’s best athletes, I say, “Please, hurry up and retire!” There are thousands of PE Teachers, newly trained in metacognitive academic and physical strategies, waiting to take your place, which would be the very best thing for those other 80% of your students who are sitting on the bench. I get so excited when I work with teachers and administrators who actually “get” the idea of QPE and take their responsibility to educate seriously. I only hope that my grandchildren are lucky enough to be guided by teachers and coaches who are not just worrying about their test scores or their athletic ability, but are teaching the whole child—mind, body and soul.
I am so appreciative of the AHA for giving me the foundation for understanding youth health challenges and best practices, and I am so thankful that I found a company to work for—Focused Fitness—that truly puts all of its efforts into doing what is right, but not always easy, for the benefit of our children’s current and long-term fitness and health.
The new website has FREE sample activities for all grade levels focusing on moving to learn, and learning to move. After all, we know that Quality Physical Education (#QPE) is based on the idea that content is king!
For all of you WELNET® users out there, you will love our new login which is in the top bar of the site. Just click ‘Login’, type in your user name and password, and you are ready to record, assess, and evaluate your students! Students, please remember that you can still log into WELNET® to take your assessments, record behavior logs, and set goals for your fitness measurements!
Stay up to date on everything that is happening in the Physical Education world by following us on twitter @FocusedFitness2.
We are excited to see all of you in Seattle this March for the SHAPE America National Convention and Expo! We will be at booth 1010
Remember to stay happy, stay healthy, and keep that smile on!
There is quite a buzz currently in the world of Physical Education. Focused Fitness is dedicated to keeping you in the know of current happenings and what is to come. We are very excited to announce the launch of our new website, which will take place on February 18th. It will be jam packed with beneficial resources, an updated and easy to use WELNET® login, and live feeds on the latest news in Physical Education. We are so thrilled about what is going on not only around the country, but around the world this week! Check out some of the events below:
Speak Out Day
This week hundreds of Physical Education Teachers and advocates are at our Nation’s capital for #SpeakOutDay, which is an annual event for Physical Education to lobby the importance of what we do on a daily basis to improve health and wellness across the nation. Meeting with members of congress and networking with fellow Physical Education leaders is what this event is all about.
Recently a California lawsuit involving Physical Education has been settled. California parent, Marc Babin and his attorney Donald Driscoll have settled with dozens of school districts across California. The settlement states that school districts will publicly document Physical Education time in school because they are not meeting the minimum 200 minutes of Physical Education for every 10 days of school. Physical Education and the arts often take a back seat to many standardized tests and this was evident in the 2009 lawsuit that Driscoll filed against Albany Unified School District. The hot topic in this case was the debate over whether the 200 minutes of Physical Education every 10 days was a mandate or a guideline. California Third District Court of Appeals overturned the judgment concluding that the 200 minutes was in fact a mandate for schools to provide for students. Click Here for full article
JAM World Record
February 12, 2015 at 10 am your local time is JAM World Record. The idea is simple, take a minute or more as a school or organization and exercise. If you want to use the official JAM routine Click Here, otherwise just make time to move at 10 am your local time!
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s article on the declines in childhood obesity really hit home for us here at Focused Fitness. For the past 14 years our goal has been to provide schools with the skills and resources they need in order to teach kids how to life a happy, healthy, and active lifestyle. Being able to be a part of the decline in childhood obesity is an amazing success for us. We have a long road ahead of us but the end result is well worth it!